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Great book but at 900 pages it's actually a bit too short
le 18 septembre 2012
Winter of the World is an excellent successor to Fall of Giants. It is gripping and believable. It makes you wonder how you would have acted when history is happening around you and choices have to be made without the consequences known. My only wish is the book had been a bit longer, now with ebooks, I really don't care about the number of pages the book is.
The model is the same as the first book. The great events of the 20th century pass by and the impact and role of people in Russia, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States is described and followed. The same families as in the first book star, but now the book is more about the children, though their parents do play a role. Many historical characters act in the side line.
The book is fast-paced and takes you from the Reichstag fire to the Spanish Civil War, to the battle in Cable Street and then to various locations in the Second World War and the start of the cold war aftermath. It's not just history, there is plenty of love, laughter, loss, betrayal and a bit of sex here and there. Some of the plots of the previous book are carried on to this book. Not everyone gets the one they want and not every romance is a success. Specifically the illegitimate children of the first book that have varying roles to play in the new book and you constantly wonder about how their parentage will play a role.
All in all what I love about the books is that it constantly makes me wonder how I would have reacted in certain cases. What if I had been a Russian, what if I had been a Welsh miner, a German social democrat. It's easy enough now that we know the winners and losers, but when the choices are made not much is known. I also love the historical and pieces of trivia. Like the start of the Marshall plan, whose impact reaches on to today as its successor is my employer.
The only point of comment is that some of the plots could have been made a bit longer and some of the characters are a bit too flat, because it seems the author was cut short by the editor. The children have to compete with the parents for pages and as a reader I want to know about both, which makes the children's stories shorter than the stories of their parents in the first book. Some characters become a bit flat as a result. But I can't wait for the third episode. I wonder whether the characters will be involved in the space programmes of their countries, how Vietnam, de-collonization and the Middle East will feature, or if the author will focus on something completely different.